Friday, May 23, 2008


In case you missed the first annual College Sports Research Institute (CSRI) scholarly conference in April, it was a terrific event sponsored by Dr. Richard Southall ( and the University of Memphis. It was amazing to see so many world- class speakers for a first year event.

Richard has now moved on to Chapel Hill, which will host the 2nd CSRI conference next spring. The call for papers is already out and is listed below.

One other quick note, I'll be in Florida all next week for some R&R; I'll catch up with posting upon my return June 2.

The College Sport Research Institute welcomes the submission of abstracts for its 2nd annual Scholarly Conference on College Sport to be held on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. The conference’s mission is to: “Provide students, scholars, and college-sport practitioners with a public forum to discuss relevant and timely intercollegiate-athletics issues.”


To be considered for acceptance, abstracts must reflect college-sport research on the history of intercollegiate athletics, social-cultural college-sport issues, legal theory or the application of law to college-sport issues, business-related issues in college sport, or special topics related to current college-sport issues. The research should have reached a fairly complete stage of development, and the abstract should provide enough detail about the research, so the reviewers have sufficient information to judge its quality. Abstracts proposing teaching-related sessions on college-sport issues will also be considered, as long as the abstract provides sufficient detail to judge the quality of the proposed session.

Abstracts will undergo a multi-person, blind-review process to determine acceptance.Abstracts submitted to CSRI should not be concurrently submitted for consideration to another conference.


Abstracts should NOT be submitted prior to October 3, 2008 and MUST be received no later than Friday, January 16, 2009 (11:59p.m. EST). Submissions received after this date and time will not be considered for acceptance.


All abstracts MUST be submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word attachment and must contain the following information and conform to the following format requirements:

One-inch margins,
Times New Roman 12-point font, and
400-word maximum for 25-minute presentations and posters, and 800-word maximum for 75-minute presentations.

Line 1: Type of session desired (choose from the options below):
· 30-minute oral presentation (including questions)
· 65-minute teaching symposium, roundtable, or workshop
· 65-minute forum (2-3 papers with a discussant, including questions)
· Poster presentation

Line 2: three to four keywords that will help the program coordinator schedule similar topics in succession
Line 3: author(s) and institution(s) names (centered on page)
Line 4: presentation title (centered on page)
Line 5: blank

Line 6 to end: text of abstract (including demonstration of research conducted)
In the email message accompanying the attached abstract, include the principal author’s name, postal mailing address, email address, and fax and telephone numbers.Submission of abstract(s) indicates the intent of the presenter(s) to register for the conference at the appropriate registration fee.
Email all abstracts to:

Richard M. Southall (Director – College Sport Research Institute) at

NOTE: All abstracts MUST be submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word attachment

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Sports Video Group

I got an interesting e-mail this week from something called the Sports Video Group. The SVG has created a College Video Newsletter dedicated to meeting the information needs of college and university video professionals. "The college sports video market is more complicated than ever," explains Ken Kerschbaumer, SVG editorial director. "The market is unique in its challenges, from coaches moving to HD, schools grappling with Internet-distributed video productions, or college stadiums and arenas installing new scoreboards and in-venue entertainment systems."

The newsletter also has a research section and other areas of interest as well. To be honest, I had not heard of this group before the email, but their material seems both interesting and relevant to sports scholarship. I would encourage you to check it out.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Request for Help: Sports Knowledge scale

The following comes from a grad student at Kent State; if anyone can help, please contact him directly:
I am writing to see if anyone is aware of an established measure of perceived sports knowledge. I have found a few things, however the scales are merely mentioned in a methods section and not presented in a way that can be retested or modified. The scale I am looking for would basically tap one's perceptions of sports knowledge, things like "I tend to know more about sports than my friends, average person, etc.". Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

John Spinda
Ph.D. Candidate & Graduate Assistant
School of Communication Studies
D207 Music & Speech Center
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242
(330) 701-1263 (cell/home)
(330) 672-0284 (on-campus)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Future of Sports Journalism?

In case you haven't been keeping up with the recent flap over blogging, here's a look at the controversial segment on Bob Costas's HBO show involving sportswriter/author Buzz Bissinger and Will Leitch of Deadspin. Bissinger caught a lot of flak for his profanity-laced diatribe, which unfortunately obscured some interesting points he was trying to make.

Bissinger complained that the sports blogosphere has become filled with unprofessional criticism, rumor and in some cases outright hatred. There is a very real concern among trained, professional sportswriters that their profession is being taken over by amateurs who simply want to vent their frustrations. (Kirk Bohls of the Austin-American Statesman makes this point in a recent column).

Essentially, this becomes a young vs. old argument. In one corner we have the older sportswriters tied more to print, responsible journalism and traditional methods. They're getting a serious challenge from a younger sports bloggers who don't necessarily have the same training or hold to the same standards.

This is also the same thing I found in research on sports blogging at local media outlets (television, newspaper and radio)--the older reporters were more resistant and saw less value in blogging compared to the younger guys. But almost every journalist who responded also said that blogging wasn't going away; it would only increase in the future.

Where do I stand on all this? Well, I'm over 40 so I guess put me in with Bissinger (although minus all the profanity). But if you're putting money on this debate go with the young guns, who have time, technology and growing audiences on their side.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Help needed: Sports and Politics

The following comes from John McGuire at Oklahoma State. Feel free to contact him at the email address below.


I’m interested in locating and working with 2-3 sports media researchers in different parts of the country for a potential study. The study would examine how the presidential race and politics in general are discussed as part of sports talk programs during an election year.

Please e-mail me at if you have an interest in this study.

Dr. John McGuire
School of Journalism & Broadcasting
Oklahoma State University

Friday, May 02, 2008

Off Season in the NFL Network debate?

Apparently not. Sorry to interrupt your Friday with more debate on the NFL Network's carriage issues, but this item, however small, struck me as interesting.

The South Carolina State Senate held a public hearing on cable antidiscrimination and dispute resolution yesterday, complete with a representative from the NFL and a president of the Carolina Panters. (From The State)...

"Mark Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, asked South Carolina to become the first state to put in place an arbitration system aimed at forcing major cable networks to feature the NFL Network as part of their basic digital programming packages.

Such disputes normally are settled by the FCC, but Richardson and others told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee the federal process is too slow and ineffective and that states have the authority to intervene when their consumers’ best interest are not being served."

Here is the PR Newswire release from Football 24/7 Carolina (notice the typo at the end when it refers to consumers in "North" Carolina, as opposed to "South", where the news originated. At least it seems like a typo).

Same theme from Richardson as it has been, the NFL Network is being discriminated against.
"Simply put, NFL Network is treated unfairly because it is not owned by a cable company. Those cable companies have 'bottleneck' power -- they control access to their customers, so they are able to pay more attention to their profit margins than what their customers want," said Richardson. "As a result, our fans aren't getting the programming they want."

The result? The South Carolina Senate chose not to act, effectively killing any potential legislation possibility for 2008.

That said, this episode provides insight to the NFL Network's strategy. It appears the NFLN is fed up with the FCC's lack of progress on a resolution. The FCC still has not ruled on XM-Sirius and is potentially facing hearings into Rupert Murdoch's bid to buy Newsday (great episode of NPR's OnPoint about this on Wednesday).

As a result, the NFLN is mobilizing grassroots organizations to pressure state legislatures to resolve the carriage. I have not decided whether I think this is a creative lobbying strategy, or an act of desperation. I need to see whether the NFLN engages other state legislatures in similar lobbying strategies before deciding. Right now, I am leaning toward smart business strategy.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

More on BEA Sports Division

Just to follow up on a recent post about the BEA's new sports division, the president is Michael Bruce of Oklahoma Baptist University. You can read more about Michael here, including his contact information.

Here's Mike's note to those interested in the group--

To: Members of the BEA Sports Division

We had a tremendous turnout for the organizing meeting of the BEA Sports Division at the convention in Las Vegas. Thanks to all of you that made an effort to attend that early morning meeting. I also want to thank Max Utsler, University of Kansas, for all of his work in getting the division organized and approved.

I wanted to follow up with some information about the division's leadership, and initiatives that we will be working on over the coming months. Leadership for the division is:

Rick Sykes, University of Central Michigan
Vice Chair

Steve Hill, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
Web manager / Newsletter editor

Rob Bellamy, Duquesne University
Paper Competition Chair

Tommy Booras, Western Kentucky University
Marc Krein, Oklahoma State University
Andrew Utterback, Eastern Connecticut State University
Festival Volunteers

The leadership will begin working immediately on the following division initiatives:

1. Developing a division mission statement and division by-laws. The division leadership is in the process of drafting these documents. The documents will be submitted to division members for comment and approval over the summer. After approval by the division membership, the documents will have to be approved by the BEA Board of Directors during their fall meeting.

2. Creating a web presence for the division.

3. Marketing the division to entities with interests in sports and media.

4. Making plans for division panels at the 2009 convention.

5. Organizing the paper competition.

6. Exploring the division's role in the 2009 BEA Festival. The division's involvement with the BEA festival in 2009 is contingent upon many factors. I do want to emphasize that the Sports division will not try to take sports categories from other divisions unless they volunteer to move those categories to us. So far, the news division has expressed the most interest in shifting categories to our division. Some sports categories may remain in other divisions for a while.

The division leadership values your input. We would like each member to be actively involved. Here are a few things you can do:

1. Promote the division to BEA members, and particularly non-BEA members, that may have an interest in sports media (i.e. sports-related organizations, other departments at your university that focus on sports media like marketing, advertising, business, or law).

2. Submit panel proposals. Deadline is in mid-August.

3. Plan to submit faculty and student research to the paper competition.

I look forward to working with you in the upcoming year.